The statement 50 years ago by the nation’s first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams that the future of the nation was in the school bags of its children was relevant today as it was then even though “those school bags may have been transformed into computers”.
“In the final analysis our young people are not only our future but our present and our only hope,” THA Chief Secretary Orville London said at the launch of the Assembly’s Youth Energised for Success (YES) Programme on Tuesday (August 28 2012) at the Mount Irvine Bay Hotel. Some 400 young persons attended the launch.
London recalled that 50 years ago less two days the “Father of the Nation” Dr Eric Williams journeyed to the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain and addressed the youth of the nation. “I think that of all those addresses Williams has ever made this one is the most enduring. It is relevant today as it was 50 years ago.”
He said it was in that address Williams entrusted the future of the nation in the loving and tender hands of the youth. “It is in that address he spoke of enshrining the pride of our nation in the innocent hearts of the youth, it is in that address he spoke of the future of the nation in the school bags of our children and even though those school bags may have been transformed into computers the relevance of that remains and in the final analysis our young people are not only our future but our present and our only hope,” he added.
London said: “Therein are our challenge and our responsibility because if our young people, our future, our present and our hope, we have to respond to our challenge not of preparing them but of facilitating their preparation and we must consistently make that distinction.”
He said it was not the responsibility of the adult to prepare young people but it was the responsibility of the adult and the Tobago House of Assembly to nurture an environment in which young people can prepare and most importantly in which young people can prepare themselves.
London said without making excuses it must be understood that “we are operating in a very challenging environment and the situation in Tobago is no different from the situation facing any small developing economy, especially a small developing economy which has been providing increased training and developing opportunities over an extended period of time”.
He said over the last ten years the Assembly has been consistently increasing the opportunities for training and in fact the opportunities for training in Tobago were far superior to what existed in any other part of the country and the region. He said in addition to the opportunities available to nationals of Trinidad and Tobago the Assembly provided other opportunities and other avenues in the Tobago situation.
He added that what has happened and what was happening was that at the end of the exercise there were a number of people who cannot get employment and the kind of satisfaction which they expected.
London said while the THA will place skilled and unskilled workers in its various Divisions it cannot do it alone and appealed to the private sector to continue their support for the programme. He said: “When we speak of professionals we speak of them in the widest possible term, not that concept of a doctor or lawyer but anybody who is a professional in his field.”